The baby-steps approach is similar to the policy advocated by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has argued that cooperation on economic development and other issues would be more effective than “top down” negotiations. Such cooperation is underway in some areas, particularly West Bask security, but Palestinians have been hesitant, in general, toward the approach for fear that it would delay discussion of more basic issues such as borders.
The Arabs offered little response to the limited engagement option Clinton outlined as a way out of the current impasse.
As the administration requested help from the Arab states, “it isn’t that they didn’t want to act, they can’t. There would be a huge political price,” for doing so, said former Jordanian foreign minister Abdulilla Khatib, who said it was wrong to expect Arab states to “frontload the process” with concessions that would be unpopular at home, with no guarantee that it would lead to results.